In the Garage: Rodney Fetters, Jackman for the No. 38 Yates Ford Rodney Fetters, Jackman for the No. 38 Robert Yates Racing Ford has one of the best jobs in the garage. The New York native first got his feet wet working in racing seven years...
In the Garage: Rodney Fetters, Jackman for the No. 38 Yates Ford
Rodney Fetters, Jackman for the No. 38 Robert Yates Racing Ford has one of the best jobs in the garage. The New York native first got his feet wet working in racing seven years ago and in a short time has worked his way to the elite level of stock car racing - the Nextel Cup series. Fetters' has worked for some of the best organizations in the sport, including Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Racing. New this season to the No. 38 RYR team, he is looking to gel with teammates and build a strong presence on pit road with lightning fast stops.
Motorsport.com: How did you start out working in racing?
RF: "It started when I lived in the South and graduated from tech school. A buddy of mine had a mini stock car and we ran at Concord Motorsports Park. That's really how I got started. How I got to this level, a friend of mine, Pat Patterson, who used to be with TNN; he got out of Motorsports television and got into driving a race car. I started going to Hooters Pro Cup and Goody's Dash series races with him. Since everyone knew Pat, and he was pretty connected it just flowed from there. Finally, I was invited to Hendrick Motorsports to work on the back-up crew for the No. 24 team."
M.com: How long did you work with the Hendrick organization?
RF: "I was there for 18 months, until the original 'Rainbow Warriors' defected to the No. 88 team. That's when I thought I could get my chance to move up from the back-up of the No. 24 to being on the front line. I got offered a job as jackman on the No. 97 Roush Ford; from there I did 23 races with that team. I have also worked at DEI, and this season I am with Elliott Sadler's team."
M.com: Do you have a regular job during the week?
RF: "Yes. I am self employed. I do contract maintenance, which is basically like being a mechanic."
M.com: Do you prefer working in racing part time and not working in the shop during the week?
RF: "I have done this full time, which is why I don't want to do it full time. What I do is basically seven days a week, in and out of Motorsports, the guys at the shop work way more hours. I don't want to be in one place for 80 hours a week in combination with being at the track. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing."
M.com: What is the best part about working on the 38 team?
RF: "Right now the pit crew guys, they are all guys that have a 'bring it' attitude. By bring it, I mean nobody can beat us but ourselves. I don't think we are the best, but I don't think there is a one best team. I just think these guys work really well together. Every guy on that team is in the top ten in their position, or has the potential to be. There are just a lot of good people at Yates."
M.com: Tell me what being a Jackman details.
RF: "Well we have a normal shop jack that has been modified to NASCAR standards. It takes one pump where a normal shop jack probably would take fifteen pumps to get one side of the car up. You start on the right side when the driver is one pit stall away; you go off the wall at that point to get in front of them. I go to the right side, when the tire changer makes the nuts loose, I pull off the tire and set if for the carrier to take it back to the wall. When they are done putting the tires on we swing around to the other side, jack it up, make sure everyone is checked off like making sure the gasman is done, tire-changers are done, etc. Then I drop the jack and let the driver go. If we did a good job it should be somewhere around 13.5 seconds."
M.com: If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?
RF: "Male entertainer (laughs). No. Seriously, I would probably be a mechanic."
Editor's notes: Motorsport.com's NASCAR Editor's In the Garage is a new column that can be found in http://www.motorsport.com/news/series.asp?S=NASCAR. The column will hightlight the team members who are the unsung heroes.